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Timeline of Abkhaz Crisis
/ 12 Jan.'05 / 10:58


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October 3 – Presidential elections held in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia. The polls were expected to bring new leader of the unrecognized republic, but because of the post-election dispute between the two main presidential rivals – the opposition leader Sergey Bagapsh and pro-governmental candidate Raul Khajimba, Abkhazia was hit by two months of political crisis, which brought the region on the verge of civil war.

October 6 – The Abkhaz Central Election Commission (CEC) agreed to invalidate election results in all three precincts of Gali district. A re-vote was appointed for October 17. Thus, the CEC yielded to the opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh, who, according to the Abkhaz CEC was leading in the polls. Bagapsh argued that there were no violations in Gali, but as a compromise offered to run a re-vote in the Gali District alone. The Gali district is the easternmost part of unrecognized Abkhaz republic, populated mainly by ethnic Georgians who spontaneously returned to Abkhazia following the conflict in 1992-93.

Outgoing Abkhaz de facto President Vladislav Ardzinba issued a statement on the same day criticizing the CEC’s decision to appoint a re-vote in the Gali district.

October 6 – Outgoing President of the unrecognized Abkhazian Republic Vladislav Ardzinba appointed Nodar Khashba as the breakaway region’s new Prime Minister. Before this appointment Khashba worked as the deputy chief of the investment department at the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations.

October 11 – The Central Election Commission of the unrecognized Abkhaz Republic unexpectedly signed a protocol declaring opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh the winner of the October 3 presidential elections. This decision added more confusion to the Abkhaz crisis, as the re-vote was scheduled in Gali district for October 17. Pro-governmental presidential candidate Raul Khajimba challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.

October 11 – Outgoing president of Abkhazia Vladislav Ardzinba addressed the nation and called "absurd" the decision of the Abkhaz CEC to announce Sergey Bagapsh the president-elect and described the decision as “a crawling coup”

October 13 – In his first comments regarding the crisis in Abkhazia, which broke out in the breakaway region after highly-disputed presidential elections took place on October 3, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili denounced the polls as illegitimate, but added that “the most anti-Georgian forces” failed to deliver their scenario of elections.

October 22 - The Abkhaz opposition declined a Moscow-proposed deal in which Russia was ready to support opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh, who has been declared president-elect, granting that he appoint Nodar Khashba as the Prime Minister of the unrecognized republic.

October 26 - The Supreme Court of breakaway Abkhazia ruled to re-count votes cast during the disputed presidential elections on October 3.

October 28 - The Supreme Court of breakaway Abkhazia confirmed opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh winner of the disputed October 3 presidential elections. Shortly after the decision supporters of pro-governmental candidate broke into the court’s building and later judge Giorgi Akaba revised his decision and ruled to hold repeat presidential polls. Later on October 29, Giorgi Akaba admitted the court was under pressure by Khajimba’s supporters and the ruling about repeat elections should not be considered valid.

November 1 – Both, pro-governmental Abkhaz presidential candidate Raul Khajimba and opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh left for Moscow. But the presidential rivals failed to reach a compromise in Moscow talks.

November 12 – Tensions escalated in breakaway Abkhazia after supporters of the opposition presidential candidate Sergey Bagapsh burst into major governmental buildings and captured Abkhazia’s Parliament, President’s Administration and the Governmental Office.

November 15 – Russia imposed restrictions on border with Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia. The border was closed every night from 6 pm to 8:00 am Moscow times.

November 23 – The Council of Elders of Abkhazia recognized the victory of opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh in the October 3 presidential elections.

November 24 – Breakaway Abkhazia’s outgoing President Vladislav Ardzinba refused to step down, even if opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh follows through with his plans to be inaugurated at the President of the unrecognized republic.

November 26 – The Parliament of the unrecognized Republic of Abkhazia adopted a decree, which recognized the October 3 presidential elections valid and opposition leader Sergey Bagapsh as the President-elect.

November 30 – A group of Russian Interior Ministry officials, led by First Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin, arrived in breakaway Abkhaz capital of Sokhumi in an attempt to solve the post-election crisis in the breakaway region. The Russian delegation was also accompanied by the Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov.

December 1 - Import of agricultural products from Abkhazia to Russia has been suspended. Exports of agricultural products, mainly tangerines and oranges, represent the foundation of the current Abkhaz economy and livelihood of most local inhabitants.

December 2 - Russia closed the railway communication with Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia. Both ban of import of agricultural products and closure of railway were imposed in an attempt to mount pressure on opposition presidential candidate Sergey Bagapsh, who planned to hold presidential inauguration on December 6. But Sergey Bagapsh announced he will not yield to Russia’s pressure.

December 3 - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili made a statement over the Abkhaz crisis and said that Tbilisi will hold peace talks over the Abkhaz conflict settlement with opposition leader Sergey Bagapsh, whom Saakashvili recognized as the President-elect of unrecognized republic.

December 5 - Sergey Bagapsh announced that a presidential inauguration will not take place on December 6 after he agreed with his opponent Raul Khajimba to hold repeat elections in which Bagapsh will run as the presidential candidate and Khajimba as for Vice-President.

December 6 - Opposition leader Sergey Bagapsh and his former presidential rival Raul Khajimba signed powersharing agreement.

December 26 – The Central Election Commission (CEC) of breakaway Abkhazia registered Sergey Bagapsh and Iakub Lakoba as the two candidates for repeat presidential elections in the Region, scheduled for January 12.

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